Car sales in Wales crashed over 26% last month, the worst of any part in the UK.
Just 2,363 new models were registered and that’s even below the 3,230 recorded in the pandemic hit showrooms of last year and the total for the country was a little over 68,000.
It was a very dismal August for the motor trade across the country, the lowest figures recorded since 2013 and the overflow from the economic crisis of the previous decade. August is also a poor month historically as buyers await the new plate each September and this month’s figures being released early in October will be a better indicator of the true state of sales through showrooms and on-line.
Only good signs in the market was the return of private buyers wanting small electrically powered or assisted cars while diesel slumped to a new low.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the figures were diappointing but not surprising with the shortage of microchips affecting production and models’ availability and this better reflected the downturn than a lack of buyers’ interest.
Seán Kemple, Managing Director of Close Brothers Motor Finance, said, “Unless something drastically changes in the remaining four months of the year, it’s looking unlikely that the manufacturing shortages hitting the car industry will level out by the end of 2021.
“The ongoing impact of the chip shortage means that a full recovery is not in sight for quite some time. Toyota has halted production for the time being; it remains to be seen whether other manufacturers will follow suit if the supply chain issues continue to stall.”
“Retailers are being asked to sell according to what manufacturers are able to produce, meaning that consumer choice is limited. However, this means consumers may be more likely to get a discounted price. For customers who aren’t willing to be flexible, it may be best to wait for things to get back to normal and for manufacturing to pick up again.”
He added, “Despite the challenges in the car industry, we’re seeing more people wanting to drive and considering car ownership; many don’t want to use public transport due to health reasons and persisting Covid anxiety. With this in mind, dealers need to be upfront with their customers about what cars they have available, and perhaps be prepared to be flexible on price points given the lack of options.”
The second-hand market has been doing very well by comparison as frustrated buyers look to acquire cheaper models, often with higher specifications than their newer stablemates because of semi-conductors shortages affecting what models are now being assembled.